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10 December 2008


Kopin receives $600,000 NASA award to develop nanostructured InGaP solar cells

Kopin Corp of Taunton, MA, USA, which makes III-V heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) epiwafers and CyberDisplay LCDs, has been awarded a $600,000 NASA contract to produce nanostructured solar cells consisting of indium gallium phosphide (InGaP) materials. The goal of the two-year Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is to develop a solar cell design that is more efficient and less expensive than conventional multi-junction technology.

“The material structures used in conventional solar cell designs significantly limit their power conversion efficiency and performance, requiring a trade-off between current and voltage,” says Dr Roger E. Welser, Kopin's director of New Product Development. “We are employing a proprietary, patent-pending structure incorporating InGaP barriers, the same material used in our HBT wafers for billions of cell phones,” he adds. In the Phase I program, Kopin produced several InGaP-based test structures that demonstrated a significant increase in the open-circuit voltage without any degradation in current. In this follow-up Phase II program, the firm aims to further enhance performance while maintaining its long-term objective to produce high-efficiency photovoltaic cells with low cost and good stability.

“This SBIR program is part of Kopin’s strategy to leverage our unique expertise in nanostructured III-V materials to create high-efficiency solar cells at low cost for the emerging terrestrial renewable energy market,” says president & CEO Dr John C.C. Fan. “For unconcentrated sunlight, we believe our innovative approach in this SBIR program has the potential to achieve conversion efficiencies exceeding 40% with a single p-n junction device, approximately 20% higher than the current efficiencies of today’s best multi-junction solar cells.”

This is the second NASA contract awarded to Kopin this year for the development of nanostructured solar cell technology. In May, it received a two-year, $600,000 award for the development of indium nitride (InN)-based solar cells, focused on producing high-efficiency cells that are resistant to extreme conditions such as those found near the sun.

See related items:

Kopin reports record revenue, despite III-Vs weakening

Kopin’s steady III-V revenues compensate for drop in CyberDisplays

Search: Kopin InGaP Solar cells


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